DUI charge for drug abuse council member

Published 11:15 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A member of the city’s Substance Abuse and Youth Council and a former School Board candidate was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol on Christmas Day.

Marion H. Matthews, 76, was charged with driving under the influence and refusing to take a blood or breath test, said Debbie George, spokeswoman for the city.

Matthews disputes the charges, saying some aspects of the alleged incident are untrue.

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Suffolk Police received a call on Dec. 25, George said. The caller, who was not identified, reported seeing a vehicle operating in a reckless manner. The car’s description and location were broadcast, and an officer spotted the vehicle on East Pinner Street a short time later, George said.

Because the car was still operating in a reckless manner, George said, the officer initiated a traffic stop.

“The driver was placed under arrest after failing field sobriety test,” George said in an e-mail. The driver also refused to take a blood or breath test, George said.

Matthews, in a telephone interview Tuesday night, acknowledged going to a party on Christmas Day, but said she hadn’t had “a lot” to drink.

“We just had a little fun, and had too much fun,” she said.

Matthews said she was driving as she and some friends were returning from the party. She wouldn’t say where the party was.

“We did have a few drinks,” she said. “I didn’t have a lot.”

Matthews said she was falsely arrested and accused, and that rumors are being spread that are “not exactly what was going on.”

“Some accusations were made that were not really as they were,” she said. “People saying that you had a lot to drink when you didn’t have a lot.”

Matthews also said that it was untrue that she had refused a blood or breath test, and then declined to talk any more about the incident.

The Substance Abuse and Youth Council, which is a City Council-appointed, unpaid board, exists “to educate citizens in the community, especially the youth, concerning the effects of drug abuse of every kind and nature upon the physical and mental well being of the user and to suggest and provide, as far as possible, alternative activities,” according to the city Web site.

George said she was unsure of the city’s policy for what to do when a member of a Council-appointed board is charged with a crime.